That night began just like every other night.
I sat in my car. My car sat in an empty parking lot. The black grit some barista had the nerve to call coffee kept me warm enough. Headlights flashed through my passenger-side windows. I perked up and turned down the radio as a Jeep pulled into the parking lot and cruised over in my general direction. He was late, as usual. If he’s always late, and I show up early, am I the one with the problem? He cut his engine, so I cut mine. He opened his door so I rolled down my window. Who said chivalry was dead? A plastic bag materialized in front of my face. I tried to peek inside but he just shoved it farther into my front seat.
“Happy birthday,” he said, already revving the engine of the Jeep and peeling out of the parking lot. I took a long sip of caffeinated mud. My birthday was two months ago. I shrugged. Better late than never, they say.
Above is THE ACTUAL STORY of how my best friend gave me my belated birthday gift – the three trade paperbacks of Ed Brubaker’s comic book noir series The Fadeout! While I’m a big noir fan, I somehow completely missed this series. For you uninitiated, Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips teamed up yet again for this 1940s Hollywood mystery. It centers around the death of a starlet, and how the town reacts to her death. Was there foul play? Who did it? Why? What’s up with all the smoking? Does anyone go outside during the day? Buy this book for $6 and find out!
If you dig Brubaker and Phillips, you’ll like this. If you want something light, pass.